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John Charles Wilcher

  • On May 3, 2021

(June 2, 1936 – April 29, 2021)

John Charles Wilcher of Bethel Park, PA unexpectedly passed to his heavenly home on April 29, 2021 at the age of 84. John, the son of Charles Albert and Lillias Wilson Wilcher, was born and raised in Braddock, PA. A graduate of Wilkinsburg High School and Slippery Rock University, John led a full and active life from western Pennsylvania to Florida and back. He proudly taught and coached countless young men and women, but most importantly, he loved his devoted wife of almost 66 years, Christine, as well as their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. For 24 years, he taught math in the Mt. Lebanon school district and was a soccer pioneer in the Pittsburgh area. He brought high school boys and girls soccer programs to Mt. Lebanon, served as the first president of the PA West Soccer Association, and lead the Mt. Lebanon Boys’ Varsity to four WPIAL championships and the PA State Championship. John then became the first head coach of the Allegheny College Women’s Varsity soccer program in Meadville, PA. While he received many coaching awards both regionally and nationally, including induction into several soccer halls of fame, his greatest pride came from watching many former players become soccer coaches too. Whether volunteering to chair a committee at church, to head a campaign for Special Olympics, to serve as a community’s president, or to simply enjoy a round of golf or a hand of poker, John was quick to make friends.

A beloved husband, father and Pap Pap, he is survived by his loving wife, Christine Margaret Wilcher, his five children, Ronald Wilcher, Sandra Smith (Charles), Heather Knuth (Kevin), Julie McCubrey (Everett), Robert Wilcher (Andrea), his nine grandchildren, Lauren White (Grant), Corry Knuth, Ryan Knuth, Jessica Patouillet (Nolan), Everett McCubrey IV (Anna), Alexandra McCubrey, Connor McCubrey (Kelly), Melanie Hannan, Verity Wilcher and his ten great-grandchildren, Grace, Colton, Macalister and Kate White, Harper, Crosby and Willow Patouillet, and Everett, Drews and Henry McCubrey. John is also survived by his brother, Joel Wilcher (Lynn), and sister, Elisabeth Ehrlich. He is preceded in death by his brother Richard Wilcher.

Friends are welcome to visit with the family on Friday, May 7, 2021 from 1-3 pm at Pittsburgh Cremation & Funeral Care, 3287 Washington Road, McMurray, PA, with a Celebration of Life immediately following. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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David J Cope
So sorry to hear this. I am an active member of the John Wilcher, "coaching tree," and a player on a couple of those teams. So many of us are still close today after forging friendships in the steely environment that was Coach Wilcher's training camp. It's interesting who we choose as our role models. In many ways I have followed Coach Wilcher's footsteps as a Coach, a Teacher, even coaching one of my own children. It must also be recognized that Coach Wilcher was an advocate of Women's Soccer long before it was fashionable. Growing up in Mt. Lebanon, you just assumed that everyone else knew how good women could be at this game. Girls in Lebo were winning championships long before the first Women's World Cup in 1991. That atmosphere of inclusion and a belief in equality still impacts many of us today. My thoughts are with the entire Wilcher clan and my gratitude towards Coach Wilcher for showing me that a life in education and soccer was honorable and possible. His was a life well lived.
Ken Hohman
My heart goes out to the entire Wilcher family. I speak for my entire family, including my late mom, Eleanor, when I say that we deeply appreciate John Wilcher's incredible contributions to the beautiful game in Lebo and his profound and direct impact on our lives. As a young player, I recall so many instances when he had faith in me when I wasn't sure I even had faith in myself. I played for his Allegheny '80 squad, PIAA champs, WPIAL champs, and several tournament teams. So many incredible memories and they would not have been possible without his guidance, humor, confidence and compassion. God bless, and thank you so much, Coach!
Shannon Simms
I am sad to hear of the loss for coach Ron, you have been the most compassionate coach to my children in their soccer career no doubt passed down from a legacy of great coaching! Rest In Peace and god bless the family.
greg hohman
Did Coach Wilcher have any idea of the number of former players who followed the fortunes of his Lebo teams after they left the area? I wish I could have chatted with him about all of his favorite moments. Today I hate to exercise, but have strangely fond memories of his tough workouts, the sprints worst of all. CW led some polished teams, notably the state champs, and consequently helped to create lots of memories for lots of people. As my brother Ken showed here, he was important to our family and isn’t forgotten. May he rest in peace.
Doug Waddell
32 years ago I made a decision to follow my conscience and my instincts and dedicate my career to teaching kids. I recall at that time in my life being motivated to pay back others, especially teachers, coaches and clergy who had helped shape me (and “shape up”) along my life’s journey up to that point. Coach Wilcher very much came to mind then and, as my sadness today would attest, that sentiment remains. Clearly, Coach Wilcher was a champion who gave of himself to make champions of as many youth as he could influence. I was one of thousands, surely, who he instructed, he inspired and he motivated to be better students, players and human beings. Clearly, Coach Wilcher earned his Hall of Fame reputation. To be his player, to follow him onto the field before any game, was to be confident, proud and prepared. But, looking back on my teaching career, which I would not, could not trade for all that it has done to challenge me, to bless me, I must say that my deepest respect and gratitude are for Mr. Wilcher, the teacher, the loving and devoted husband, the adoring father. What he accomplished is remarkable, groundbreaking in very fundamental ways. He was so ahead of his time. His Christian values served him, and all of us, so very well. This is a sad time, but I do smile when I consider the countless kids who he has so gainfully influenced, both directly and by extension through those he taught and coached to give their best — and to inspire the same in others. I wish God’s loving Spirit to comfort the Wilcher family in all the days to come. Thank you, especially Mrs. Wilcher, for sharing such a remarkable man for the benefit of countless others who he influenced. God Bless, Doug Waddell